‘Smart’ traffic lights threaten to catch careless cyclists

Laura Pugh - News Reporter 2 May 2012

Cambridge Cycling Campaign is calling for better enforcement of laws which will prevent motorists and cyclists jumping red lights.

The Campaign has suggested the use of ‘smart’ traffic lights, which are able to alter their timings based upon traffic levels. Smart lights, which have become popular in Europe, are proven to improve safety as well as traffic congestion, and have been made especially necessary since research has shown riders and pedestrians make up the majority of accident victims at traffic lights.

The council’s approach is currently focussed on giving Police Community Support Officers new powers to fine cyclists who break the Highway Code. Unlike full police officers, they can usually only issue fines to cyclists riding on pavements.

A spokesperson for the Cambridge Cycling Campaign said, “We would wish full police officers to better support such work as it, in general, can be only they who can deal with moving vehicle offences, such as those at traffic lights.”

They added: “We would like to see civil enforcement officers able to issue fixed penalty notices for a wider range of offences, as should be possible under existing legislation, but that does not include those which are endorsable offences such as those at lights.”

Student opinion is split over the council’s approach to improving road safety in Cambridge, though many support the idea of smart lights.

Law student Anna Sutcliff told The Cambridge Student, “Considering the vast amount of student cyclists, surely the cost of installing smart lights is well worth the benefit of improving their safety.”

Laura Pugh – News Reporter